Consumer confidence falls in December, survey reveals

Consumer confidence fell in December to cap a "slipping and sliding year" dominated by Brexit uncertainty, a long-running survey has shown.

GfK's consumer confidence index dropped by one point to an overall score of minus 13 this month - and slipped further from minus seven in January - as it marked almost two years without a lift into positive figures.

The major purchase index, which indicates confidence in spending on big-ticket items, has also slipped from positive 10 in January to minus four this month.

Consumer confidence fell in December (Nick Ansell/PA)
Consumer confidence fell in December (Nick Ansell/PA)

Meanwhile, it has been the reverse for the savings indicator, which sat at minus five last December but has seen positive scores from April onwards, showing consumers were becoming more cautious as the year progressed.

The personal financial situation measure during the last year has decreased two points this month to minus three, three points lower than this time last year, while the forecast for the next 12 months has remained at positive two, one point lower than last December.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased one point to minus 31 but remains five points lower than last December. Expectations for the next 12 months have stayed at minus 28, five points lower than this time last year.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said: "It has been a slipping and sliding year. In fact, we have not been in positive territory for nearly two years.

"We need to see several issues move on before the downward trend of the consumer mood changes. We need to have a better sense of how Brexit will pan out and also of how quickly and how far interest rates will rise.

"None of this will be resolved quickly, so there's every likelihood that 2018 will take us lower."